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Simchat Torah + Shmini Atzeret

Your main role

You're responsible for making sure the setup and cleanup for both Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah works as outlined below, including making sure everything is lined up ahead of time and overseeing the assigned crews as appropriate on the night and morning respectively.

Service times

Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah morning

  • Start time: 9.30am, as usual
  • End time: 2pm

Erev Simchat Torah

Shemini Atzeret

Setup for Shemini Atzeret

same as Shabbat morning set-up, with the following additions:

  • make sure there are 2 Torah scrolls
  • bring in Yizkor service sheets
  • bring in sheets with Geshem prayer

Cleanup for Shemini Atzeret

  • Put the 2 Torah scrolls away
  • Put the ‘regular’ ark away
  • Move the Torah ‘reading’ stand and lectern to Berenson
  • Move the book carts to Berenson
  • Move the tallis container/cart to Berenson
  • Put away all the children’s services materials

Simchat Torah

There are no Kids services Erev Simchat Torah. Everyone is encouraged to create, and join in the joyful ruach that is Simchat Torah at the Minyan.

Note that Erev Simchat Torah is in Berenson, but the morning is in Cafeteria. Work with the Erev cleanup or morning setup crews to ensure the right materials get moved over.

Set-up for Erev Simchat Torah

  • See special notes on Snack setup.
  • Ask the maintenance person at Hebrew College to set up Berenson with only 50 chairs or so, and another 50 lined along the walls
  • Ask the maintenance person at Hebrew College to place 2 tables near the wall where the ark will be set: A long table for the ark, and a square table for the Torah reading table.
  • Make sure that the book carts, tallis cart, Torah table and lectern are in Berenson
  • Find 2 white tablecloths in Berenson. Put 1 on long table, 1 on square table
  • Move the ‘High Holiday’ ark into Berenson, and place on long table on top of cloth
  • Put Torah reading stand on square table
  • Retrieve 5 Torah scrolls with from the Rabbinical School Bet Midrash (confirm Scroll selection with either Sol Eisenberg or Elkan Gamzu), place all 5 in ark
  • Make sure there is a Yad in the ark
  • Find the 3 laminated song sheets in the Storage Room, put on wall with masking tape
  • Place 1/2 of the flags on one of the carts near the doors 

Clean-up for Erev Simchat Torah

  • Return the 5 Torah scrolls.
  • The other materials (the ark, bookcarts etc) need to move to Cafeteria for Shacharit there.

Set-up for Simchat Torah Day

  • Pick up the 5 Torah scrolls from the Bet Midrash, and place them in the ark
  • Ask the maintenance person to set up 2 long tables. One is placed in the back corner for the split reading. If possible – cover with a white tablecloth. Find a 2nd yad, and put it on this table.
  • Use the 2nd long table to replace the square table in front of the ark, and recover with the tablecloth
  • Set up the chairs in rows in facing the ark – about 50.
  • Put the remaining flags on a cart near the door

Simchat Torah Kiddush 

Set-up is the same as a regular Shabbat Kiddush with 1 MAJOR exception:

The food and drink is to be put out in 2 phases:

  • put out about 1/2 of food, and 3/4 of the drinks around 11 AM or so
  • put out balance of food around 1:15 PM

Kiddush cleanup is not phased - it is at the very end.

Simchat Torah Planning

It helps to start the planning/requests for participants before the High Holidays, to ensure people have time to prepare.

Your responsibilities as the Simchat Torah coordinator 

  • Assign all the Torah readers, gabbaim, and the davener for the evening service
  • The 3 daveners for the morning service are assigned by the davening coordinator.
  • If Simchat Torah falls on the Columbus Day holiday weekend, check with the davening coordinator to see if he/she needs any extra help making sure that there are daveners assigned for the service.


  • Obtain the flags
  • We typically order 12 dozen.
  • These can be ordered from the Israel Bookshop.
  • Request delivery to the Minyan Store Room.


  • Ensure everything's setup properly
  • Work with the Hebrew College Coordinator to ensure proper set up (see above)
  • Work with the noodge to make sure everyone understands their job assignments.


  • Order Kiddush food and snacks
  • Contact the Kiddush Coordinator a week, or so before Simchat Torah about ordering the food for Kiddush
  • Contact the Storganizer a few days before Simchat Torah to make sure that the snack supplies are ordered for delivery to the Storage Room.

Erev Simchat Torah

Assign the following:

  • 1 person to daven Ma’ariv. (The preference is not to do Mincha, since it entails a Torah reading.) The person who davens should be someone comfortable with being creative and playful, as it involves choosing and preparing recognizable and fun song settings.
  • 1 person to leyn the first 3 aliyot of V’zot ha B’racha
  • 2 Gabbaim
  • 1 person to be the ‘Hakafot Master’ – this should be someone who is ok with being loud, has high energy, and lots of enthusiasm. The laminated song sheets are a handy reminder of songs to select for the Hakafot.

The service starts with Ma’ariv, and continues up to the end of the Amidah, then shifts to the Hakafot. The Torah is read after 7 hakafot. Aleinu is not done until the Torah reading is completed.

Simchat Torah


  • 1 person to be the Hakafot Master (see above).
  • 2 people to leyn the first 5 aliyot of V’Zot ha B’racha, one in each ‘corner’ of the room.
    • these 5 aliyot are repeated until all of the people have been called up
  • 1 person to leyn the 6th (final) aliyah of V’zot ha B’racha, which is for the Chatan (Challah) Torah aliyah
  • 1 person to leyn the first aliyah of B’reishit, which is the Chatan B’reishit aliyah. Check to see who has this assignment on the Torah reading schedule, as it’s 34 verses, and it makes sense to take advantage of whomever might be preparing it for Shabbat B’reishit.
  • 1 person for Maftir
  • 1 person for Haftarah (Joshua 1:1-18)
  • 4 Gabbaim. Note: the Gabbaim call up the aliyot, so you don’t need someone to recruit these. The 5th aliyah is for all the children, and a tallis is held over their heads.

The honors for the 6th and 7th aliyot are different, and are assigned in advance. These are usually the chair people from the High Holidays. The service coordinator should make sure these people are contacted in advance, and available.

Similar to the evening service, the morning service starts with the P’sukei, and continues through Shachrit to the Torah service. Then, it starts with the Hakafot, and continues through 7 Hakafot. When these are completed, the attendees are divided into 2 groups, and the Torah service begins in each corner with the 5 aliyot of V’zot Ha B’racha. When everyone has been called up, the groups combine again, and continue with the 6th aliyah, and then through Musaf.

Fri, July 19 2019 16 Tammuz 5779